Fishing, that's what we did a lot of as kids growing up in Chillicothe. No video games to play; not much to see on a B/W TV back then. We just had to make our own fun. When we wanted to go fishing we would have to find a place to dig up worms.
One of the best places for finding fishing worms was on the banks of a little creek at the east end of First and Brunswick. It was not a real creek but more like a water drainage ditch when it rained.
Back then in our end of town many of the houses had no city sewer connections; their waste water ran into that little ditch. Now I can tell you the name we called it back then, Sh** Creek. Well, that was what everyone called it, we would laugh every time we said it. That ditch had rich green worms from the waste.
My sister and I didn't see each other to often back then, we would have a lot of fun when we did. I was always excited when I was around her, she was my big sister.
One time we were in that smelly old ditch and as I was digging, I was a good digger with a potato fork. I swung it back like a shovel and popped her in the mouth. It broke her front tooth as you see in the picture. That's when I learned you don't want to make your older sister mad!
After we would get our worms our parents would take us to an old river bed just outside of town. One was called Patterson Slew just southwest of town, Bear Lake was just across the Grand river from that. Then there was a slew out on Hwy 170 across the Thompson river to the south, I have forgotten its name. Everything was called by the property owners name back then. We would bring home old yellow belly mud cats by the stringer full.
Once in a while we would catch a carp and the fight was on. Most of the time it would break our line.
As you see memories of your childhood are short but they last forever. Remember to make a few new ones every chance you get. Today my sister, who lives in Kansas City, and I watch our kids and grandkids grow up making their own memories.
We cherish the good things we see in their life and forget the bad. We can only hope they do the same with us.
In case you may have missed DB's first post on this topic, I am enclosing my copy of that as well.
Gone Fishing I by Danny Batson·
The Red Ball Truck Stop on old Hwy 36 West was one busy place growing up in the 50’s and 60’s. Some of our readers may recall that behind the Red Ball was a big pond with an island in the middle. It was built to be a “pay to fish” place originally. By the time I was old enough to ride my bike there, it was just a fishing hole open to everyone for free.
The only problem was the fish in the pond were mostly Buffalo, a close kin and brother to the Carp. They would not bite on earth worms or dough bait; we had to snag them with a big treble hook---at least that was what we thought at the time. Being snake infested, we would hardly ever swim in his pond. From time to time, the Grand River would flood the bottoms and would “restock” the pond and bring in more variety. Then we were able to catch some fish that would bite on bait. Buffalo fish or not, It was a kid’s paradise.
I remember my buddies and I built a raft to get to the island. Since it was the first time we had ever built one they always sank until we finally got it right. The gallon jugs we used were not enough to make it float, so we had to find bigger and more effective flotation devices. What we could find for free, we used. Our makeshift raft could only carry one of us at a time, so we found a piece of rope and rigged it up like a ferry.
Later on, the owner (Donaldson’s manufacturing) started dumping sheet metal scrapes into it so as to fill it in. These jagged scraps were usually in the shape of half-moons and circles, perfect flying saucers for boys. We would have wars with them, a very dangerous game then and now. We would hide behind the dump piles and throw them at each other. Yes, we cut ourselves sometimes but that didn't stop us from playing every day.
Let’s get back to the ever present Buffalo fish; we figured out how to “catch” them in quantity. We searched for small glass jars with lids, Remember those tube-like Alka-Seltzer bottles? Well they were the best size for our new fishing method. Back then, I had access to carbide, it was used in miner’s lights and old style welding equipment. Trager’s Welding shop (next door to us on Leeper Street) had a carbide style welder.
We would fill the bottles half full of water, quickly drop in four or five small pieces of carbide and throw it into the water near where the fish were piping. With carbide you had to be fast because it works just like dynamite, only without a fuse! Some of our homemade grenades would explode inflight and we would hit the ground fast because of the flying glass. If we threw it at just the right time, it would explode under the water with a loud “whump” and the water would shoot up and the fish would float to the top.
We even had people buy some from us as carried a wagon full of buffalo fish home. That kind of fishing is illegal now. It probably was back then as well. If our parents knew what kind of stuff we did as kids, they would have killed us. What they didn't know didn’t hurt them, or our butts.
Finally, I will tell you this one fact right now. It was not us who burnt the little building down on the island.